Hi all – this is Fielden Stream reporting in! Just wanted to add my own info on our recent hike. First off – I was very worried about this hike as there was going to be a lot of steep sections and it was going to be the second 2-nighter that we had ever done. So we truly underestimated our abilities here – mostly to be on the safe side.
This ended up meaning that we got to both of our campsites super early, which isn’t necessarily my preference, but it ended up being a nice relaxing addition to our trip. This was especially true the second night as we had a gorgeous brook called Sages Ravine running right near the campsite with watering holes and 14 beautiful waterfalls.
But back to the first night. Riga Shelter I guess is a very popular campsite mostly because it has a nice view. It also has some private campsites that are surrounded by trees so you really don’t have to spend time with other hikers if you don’t want to. The privy was pretty decent too although it did smell a bit. The only thing that marred the beauty was the semi-burnt shelter (some idiot in January did it), but the trail maintainers are supposed to be fixing that this weekend. It was a bit buggy though. I also didn’t like the fact that you had to walk pretty far to get to the beginning and to the privy from almost everywhere (although Sages Ravine was even worse!) There was also no picnic table – which isn’t a deal-breaker, but does tend to add a nice element. And we did meet some more nice thru-hikers (AYCE, Buster and Sparkles) while we were there which always makes it a more fun trip.
The second night — after a heart-attack-causing decent down Bear Mountain — was at Sages Ravine. This campsite does not have a shelter so you don’t have too many thru-hikers staying there. They do have a camp steward though who lives there for a few days every week (they rotate them through) which was interesting as we got info about the area and some of the issues of maintaining trails. Everyone who can should volunteer to maintain trails as If you love nature it’s a great way of giving back!
My biggest problem with Sages was how far (and uphill!) every campsite and privy was from everything else. I think we did more mileage walking back and forth from the campsite to the brook to the privy and back again than walking the actual trail! The privy was also on the lower quality scale. It was composting, but it had not been updated in quite a while and there was a big rock holding the door shut, which you had to move in order to get inside. And like I said, it was at least an eighth of a mile from our campsite.
But our campsite was nice. We decided to set up at a group site because we wanted some company, and we got some! We also got a nice view of a side ravine and a nice breeze that helped keep the bugs away. And quite a thunderstorm when we were happily tucked away in our tent for the night. Many of the other campsites were up on a hill even higher than us and were in the middle of fields of grass. Personally, I’m not a fan of camping near grass because of snakes and ticks.
We met some garter snakes along the trail yesterday, and when we arrived at Sages we were greeted by a friendly resident deer, and what we think was a bear shortly after setting up camp. Though no actual sighting occurred, few animals could snap an entire tree limb as dramatically and make the loud thump we heard hitting the ground seconds after. Luckily if it was a bear cub it ran the other way. Since we were just reading a humorous anecdote about bears in Bill Bryson’s “A walk in the woods” it just had to be a bear…
But the best part of Sages was the brook itself, and washing our feet in the deliciously cold water. I could do that for hours. All of my blisters stopped hurting for for like 5 minutes! The third day we got up super early so we could go have lunch at a restaurant later. I couldn’t wait for hot food and a real bathroom. The hike out was on a side trail called Paradise Lane and I do have to say it was very paradisical! The Mountain Laurel, which is the CT state flower, was just reaching peak and it was stunning to walk through archways of them. There were also some very pretty swampy areas with bullfrogs talking to each other. And then it was on to our delicious lunch at Toymakers Cafe in Falls Village. If you go, get the sausage and biscuits. They were outstanding!!!!
As we finally finished the state, we put up our video and you can view the link to it on our new youtube channel. We hope you enjoy it, though we are admittedly not film directors.
— Fielden Stream